Understand, O dullest of the people;
fools, when will you be wise?
The one who planted the ear, does that one hear?
The one who planted the eye, does not that one see?
In the book of Joshua, we read of many victories against the Canaanites. In Judges, we read that as time as passed, they are now being oppressed by King Jabin and the commander of his army, Sisera.
More surprisingly, a woman, Deborah, is a judge of Israel. She summoned a general, Barak, to inform him of the Lord's command to defeat Sisera's army. Barak agreed to go to battle only if Deborah would go, too.
In Gender, Power, & Promise, Fewell and Gunn question whether his insistence that Deborah accompany him indicates cowardice or lack of self-confidence on his part or distrust of Deborah's authority. After all, they are more accustomed to hearing a male voice report what God wants.
Barak's army routed the enemy. Sisera panicked and fled by foot going into hiding in the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite (that is, a descendant of Moses' father-in-law) who was associated with King Jabin. Sisera thought that he would be safe there. Jael told him not to be afraid and brought him something to drink. After he dropped off to sleep, se drove a tent peg into his temple, killing him.
Chapter 5 is the song sung by Deborah and Barak describing the successful efforts of God's people. Rather disconcerting is the last section that describes the events through the expectations of Sisera's mother. Fewell and Gunn ask: What is the difference between Deborah and Sisera's mother in their will to defeat the enemy? What even is the difference between Israel and Canaan? Canaan is defined as the enemy but Israel has certainly defied God over and over and over.
I read this psalm and am comforted by its assurance that I can turn to God for protection against those who would harm me, that God is my refuge and protector, that when the wicked band together, God will wipe them out. However, I also need to take warning that I don't become one of those arrogant evildoers that have tormented the psalmist.
The talk of fools is a rod for their backs,
but the lips of the wise preserve them.
Prayer for Today: O God, remind us of all the times you have been our help, all the times you have been a consolation for us. Give us the confidence to continue to trust in you. Amen.